Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Nothing Goes Right.......Go Left!

Of course, now that it's time for the holidays I'm supposed to be writing more, BUT I CAN'T! My mind is currently like the Sahara desert, not a single drop of water (I write as I listen to "A Year Without Rain", wishing I had that dress). So, my brilliant plan? R-E-A-D!!!!!

Ok, you caught me. It's not exactly brilliant, but how else is a writer supposed to get ideas? Movies are helpful, true, but through books you can actually see how the weaving of words forms a bridge for the characters to cross. (Unfortunately for Rune and Ruby-my own characters-they are suspended on a bridge that has a gaping hole in the middle, unable to get to the greener grass on the other side. The troll is snickering.)

So, I figured it would help if I made a BOOK WISH LIST it may in fact help. So, here it is:

  • Sapphique
  • The Makeshift Miracle
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  • White Cat
  • Love, Death, and Songs (something like that, I'm being bad and not remembering)
So, I hope that over the holidays I will have lots of time to read, write, and relax! I wish you the very best holiday (singing: And a happy new year!) Though I'm sure I'll post before then.

Enjoy the snow, cuddle up by the fire, make a nice cup of hot chocolate (unless you are allergic to chocolate, then popcorn will do,) and grab a good book. If that doesn't work for you, then do something else. (Just like if reading doesn't work for me, I'm sure I'll find some more solid substances to build the bridge :P) I mean, after all, when nothing goes right.....GO LEFT!

Happy Holidays!

PS- Thanks for commenting! :D

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Much Anticipated Teaser of "Book One: Broken Glass"

Now that I've been in contact with a few people of importance in publishing, I've been asked quite a lot "What's you're book about?" and if you remember my previous entries, I'm supposed to tell them in under 30 seconds! (Gasp) So, I must admit to you dear readers, that I have not yet accomplished this task. I have, however, written a teaser on it.

So, here it is! The very first preview of my first novel: Broken Glass:

Stoic and goal driven, Rune seems the ideal son to the throne of Phethion, the world of shade run by none other than the Darkwings—evil creatures with sharp teeth, and pupil-less black eyes. Unlike most royals however, Rune lacks the sheer cunning mind that puts many of them at the top. Or rather, would it be that he has no interest in falling to such levels?
On the eve of Rune’s twelfth birthday, he finds his destiny set out before him… And his fate is far from anything a prince would expect: Blood, betrayal, and revenge. 
Six years later, Rune is now leader of the Dawnbringers, a society devoted to defeating the Darkwings and their notorious Ravenwood Court.
Rune, though powerful and well known, often only says what is needed, keeping to himself, and longing for a better future. But things are about to take a turn. He suddenly finds himself as sworn protector to the princess—Ruby Bloodheart—a girl who hardly follows any orders, and is constantly putting herself in danger. Rune will not hesitate to protect her. But soon Rune will have to draw his sword no longer to defend but to kill. 
It is a time of war, and Ruby and Rune must learn to trust each other, even if their words are based on lies. For it seems as though Rune is determined to keep his past—and his future—forever secret.
Rune, tempted by the darkness within him, now sees another problem, making his decisions even harder: He is falling in love with Ruby. But, will love be their relief or their ruin?  Only time will tell, and they have little time left before their world shatters…just like broken glass…

© 2010 Gemma

Hope you enjoyed! It needs a bit of work, but it is the first teaser I've ever written!!! (Smile) So, tell me, would you read my book?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Frost

Wow, can you believe it? First of December, and it already seems like we'll have a winter wonderland just in time for the holidays! Well, as exciting as this is, I have even better news!!!! I have just sent off my first few chapters to a professional editor! It's a bit nerve-racking to know that my baby is no longer in my hands, but I can't help but feel adventurous. :) Could it be that--just like the first frost--this could be the first step to success?

Fingers Crossed!

Have a great week, I'll post soon, promise!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gemma's Word Gems Goes International

Wow, so I found out that there is this really cool feed that allows you to check your audience. Well, check this out, as I speak there are 17 people viewing my blog! (Gasp.) So, overall I have 1, 939 viewers in Canada, 26 in the US, 20 in Brazil, 7 in Russia, 6 in Greece, and 1 in the UK, Germany, and Pakistan! Here I was thinking that no body was checking in, and yet I have been viewed at least (taking out calculator....) 2001 times!

Wow, I should really post more often....anyhoo, it just goes to show that you should get yourself out there, 'cause you never know who's watching (reading) about you! Happy Monday!

PS- Enjoy the rain!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Flood of Possibilities

So, yesterday I went to a workshop on "How to Get Published", which was hosted by Tinlids. I must admit, going in, I was nervous. I mean here were Publishers and Editors and Authors and (GASP) Agents!!!!! But, in the end it truly was helpful. I learned a lot of great things that I would have NEVER thought of.

So, in the event of yesterday, here is a small list of things to have in your story:

  • In order to create a believable story you must have at LEAST one of four conflicts: Personal (Your value system), Interpersonal (a fight between two or more characters/people), Institutional / Society (Work or school or a club), and Enviromental (forest fire, attacked by bear, car crash).
  • Your story must have a TWIST
  • Know your voice and insure that it is not only an exciting story, but that the plot is CHARACTER DRIVEN
  • Less is more (allows readers to form their own views)
  • Is is essential to have a "Narrative Pull" (which takes the reader by the hand and compels you to turn page after page)
  • Have a character under pressure
  • And always keep your mind open! Don't stick to the outline.
Here is a list of things that relate to submitting and writing ability / talent:

  • Stop hitting delete, save all your copies so that you can compare
  • Target a publisher (Go to bookstores, websites, buy books with lists, and visit ) It is important though that you visit the publishers website and read their guidelines for submissions. There is no point in sending a Paranormal Romance to a Non-fiction publisher!!!! (By following the guidelines, you show you can work as a team and are professional)
  • Send your manuscript by mail, and also send a copy to yourself for proof. DO NOT OPEN IT WHEN YOU GET IT!
  • Publish as much as possible (Short stories, magazines, poems, whatever you can)
  • Know what makes your work stand out and is unique
  • Take different courses at Ryerson and UofT
  • NEVER EVER EVER write "Dear Editor" or "Dear Art Director" or whatever. Your work automatically gets chucked. Send to a name (get involved and connect with people in the industry)
  • Know what you are passionate about and DO IT!
  • Read frequently because publishing trends change
  • Make sure your manuscript FITS with the publisher
  • Editors and Agents want CLEVER and WORD PLAY
  • Remember you will get better
  • If you are not passionate then the work will be soulless
  • Find an editor and have it professionally evaluated
There is a lot more, but I think this is a great way to get started! Look it over and have fun! Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hello Again

Well, yes, I will admit, it's been too long! And for those of you who have kept checking in, wondering if there will EVER be another post, here it is! So, hello again to all you bloggers! Now, yes yes shame on me, I haven't updated this for over a few weeks, and to those of you who are wondering, no I haven't been busy writing! *SHOCK!*

You see, I've been procrastinating, which is something that all writers will find themselves doing at some point or another. It's not that you don't want to write, or that you can't's really that you just can't be bothered. There comes a time when you ask yourself "What's the point? It probably won't be published anyway, so why are you wasting your time trying?". And everyone is licenced to doubt themselves once and a while, but never believe the doubt. If you can't fight for what you want most in the world, then who will?

"So, what's been happening in your time of shame, Gemma?"

Well, to be honest, a lot....but nothing of great importance. I'm sending out my first few chapters to an editor this weekend (YIKES!), and though it is scary, I just have to suck it up and be brave! This is the very first step to getting my book published. Secondly, I've signed up for a writing seminar on November 20th, which should offer some help, and third....I just missed out on a big opportunity.

"What opportunity?"

Well, the well known and award winning author (Arthur Slade) came to my school, handed out free books, gave a presentation on how he went about getting published, the secrets of great writing, and what not. Every class went to the presentation.....oh, wait, EXCEPT MINE!!!!!!! The one time I get to  find out the key to success, WHOOSH, there it goes!

Sigh, but no worries, I'm going to believe in myself and do my very best. And no matter how much I don't think this will work, I'm not going to care, I'm going to do it anyway. So Gemma's back!

Hello again blog.
Hello again computer.
Hello again writing.
Hello again.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saying Good-bye......?

After pouring your heart and soul into a made up world filled with colourful characters and mysterious places and wondrous and magical (stupidly unrealistic) situations, how could you possible decided to not write any more about it? How could you decide to move on? I've only written the first book (and have started the second) but I know how it's going to end...and that's hard to swallow. "What is, Gemma?" Well, the fact that there is going to be an end.

We go through life, and face so many choices along the way: Yes or no? In or out? Love or hate? Good or bad? Stay or go? But that isn't always up to us. And it is NEVER up to the characters. I mean, think about it. Here I am, the creator of their world, of there lives, and I can make them do whatever I want. (Of course, they aren't real, but this is all metaphorically speaking. Don't worry, I haven't completely gone bonkers :P) If I want someone to die-They die. If I want a boy with blue hair and green eyes-POOF!-There he is!

But, now I have the biggest choice. Happy ending....or tragic? Truth be told: The tragic ending would be best. It just seems like that is the way things are meant to be, but I like to think that there is some good in the world. I like happy endings. Heck, I can't read books that DON'T have happy endings.....but can I write one?

I know that you bloggers haven't read the book (working on thinking up a few posts to introduce it!) but what would you do if you were in my shoes? Would you write three books just to end it in tragedy, though it seems right....or would you end it with a less cheesy version (though equally predictable-with a few twists) of "happily-ever-after"? Can I actually say good-bye at all?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Come Into My Parlor," Said The Spider To The Fly....

Have you ever seen a spider make dinner? Sure, there's the odd TV special on the Discovery channel, but I'm talking about live. You see, I am not such a big fan of spiders (though ironically my mom loves them) and so, we (which means my mom and a very very small and fearless part of me) take great pleasure in having this HUGE spider, living outside our window. Now, this thing is MASSIVE!!! Like the size of a quarter! And today, while eating my own dinner, I got a little free show.

Here comes a beautiful moth, with sparkling effervescent wings, dusted with a light powder. Gently it glides towards the light, it's fuzzy feelers looking so soft and cuddly--WHAM! It smacks right into the web! One minute it's Barbie Fairy Topia, the next it's Return of the King "Frodo's For Dinner That's What". So this huge spider then starts wrapping up the moth-who is desperately trying to get away-with this shiny silk, sucking the blood out of it like something from Twilight! :0 It was horrible. :( So, this post is in memory of the brave moth, who just couldn't stay away from the light........DON'T YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE SAY THAT FOR A REASON??????

But, in retrospect, it was actually kind of fascinating. I mean, isn't there ever a grizzly part in a novel that makes your skin crawl, but somehow the gore cheers you on to keep reading? Or why people watch horror movies and go to Halloween Haunt (which I so want to go to ;P)? It's simply strange that we would want to be scared for fun, or watch a moth massacre for fascination and curiosity. But, we do. Is this not human?

Still, with all these movies and tales that we have been exposed to, it makes me wonder: What are we afraid of? For example: I'm not afraid of zombies or ghosts or the boogie-man, but I'm afraid of Open Heights. (I will not stand on a desk for my life!!!! Rollercoasters and planes are alright, I'm secured :P) And we read all about these brave and fearless heroes all the time, yet surely they must be afraid of something OTHER than losing their "one true love", right?

So my question for you is: What do you think heroes are afraid of? And more importantly, what scares you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Makes You Smile?

You wouldn't believe the things that make me laugh :) Check out this clip and tell me what you think:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Death Warmed in the Microwave of....." I'm Sick. :(

Yes, so as the school days fly past, more and more people have become the host of the common cold. "HELP! HELP! OH, HOW WE HAVE BEEN FEASTED UPON BY LIVING THINGS, INSIDE OUR FRAGILE BODIES!!!!!!!!!" That is basically what runs through my mind, before I compose myself. (Sigh). So, here I am, four tissue boxes at hand, and Cold-FX standing by. Still, I am trying to stay on which way was it.....??

Well, good news! I may have found a potential editor for my manuscript, which means I'm only that much closer to being published!!!! YAY! :D But, that is still only a maybe, we will have to wait and see. For the meantime, I am trying to cheer myself up, and not be too much of a little black raincloud (hovering over the honey tree. Sorry, remnants of childhood memories :P) So, back to the point of all this: Writing.

Now, to those of you who have read my previous postings, I had my first "Writing War,"consisting of riddles. Well, here is the second!!! (Note: as more and more people comment, I will post more and more in-depth things about my writing.) Alright, I am going to ask your opinion on something, and you are going to comment and tell me what you think about it, or what you would do. It's a kind of vote, I suppose you could say. So, are you ready? Here it is:

A character has just had an epic battle somewhere in a maze-like building. He has momentarily rendered his opponent unconscious, and must move quickly in order to escape. However, he has a few problems: 1 = He is badly injured. 2 = He doesn't know which way is which, and he is beginning to become delirious, visions of strange colours confusing him even further. 3 = His best friend (who has stuck with him through the toughest of times) is locked on the other side of building. (Keep in mind that it's a fair sized building). 

Now, here is the question:

If it were you, would you face your fears and save your friend, or would you face the fact that you have limited time before your opponent wakes up, and flee? 

While I go blow my nose, with "Puff's-Plus Magic Kleenex", think about all the options (pros and cons) and comment back to me. (Only if you want to know what happens!) The characters' fate rests in your hands! ;)
Have a good one, enjoy the rain!!! :D

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Answers

Wow!!!! So many fabulous answers! Thank you to all of you who gave it a try, and don't feel bad if you didn't get the answers right to the riddles, I must admit, when I first guessed, I was WAY off :D I just wanted to give out a big virtual piece of cake to everyone who took the time to read them over, get really frustrated, and comment anyway! Lot's of you got some of the answers right, and some of you didn't.

But, as I said before, this was a test to see how smart you really are. And you want to know a secret??? THAT WAS THE FIRST RIDDLE!!! Your intelligence isn't based on how many answers you get right, it's how much effort you put into doing your best. And I suppose this is why I love riddles so much, and why it helps me to stay on track with my writing. :D So, without further delay, here are the answers:

Level: Easy

1. Answer: The Third Door: Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead!

2. Answer: A "murder" is a flock of crows.

3. Answer: Noon and Bob (basically any "sandwich" word.)

Level: Medium

1. Answer: A bolt of lightning

2. Answer: A lie

3. Answer: An egg

Level: Hard

1. Answer: The army is a rainstorm

2. Answer: The gems are: Amethyst, Emerald ( Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz ), Ruby, Pearl, Diamond, Tiger's eye, Cubic Zirconium (Fake diamond), and Black Opal. Taking the first letter of Amethyst, second of Emerald, etc... spells out "Ambrosia"- The food of the gods.

3. Answer: The question is: "If I ask the other person which road is safest, which will he tell me to take?" It doesn't matter which one you go up to, because then you simply do the opposite. Example: If you go up to the knight (who always tells the truth), and ask him this, he will tell you what the knave (who always lies) will say, and vice versa. If the knight says "the ___ road" then he will have told you what the knave will say, which is a lie (and vice versa). By doing the opposite, you will avoid danger :D (I save the best for last)

Bonus: Your name

That's my post for today, but it's FRIDAY!!!! So, I'll have lots of time to write, read, and blog over the next few days. Thanks again, and check in soon!!!! TGIF, and have a good weekend everybody! :D *Smile*

Monday, September 27, 2010

Writing War: Are you game? (Riddle me this...)

All right, it's been longer than I intended. "What has been longer, Gemma?" Everything! I didn't mean it to take this long to post another blog, and I didn't mean for it to take this long to finish my homework, to feed the cats, to finish my book, to turn on the computer... There simply aren't enough hours in the day! :(

But, to the point, my subject today is: Riddles! :D (Yay for cryptic rhyming!) And you may ask, "Well, what in heaven's name made you so suddenly decide that?" Answer: Everything has been so stressful lately, that I haven't had any time for writing :'( BAD GEMMA!!!!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!!!! And I know. But, these riddles I find keep my brain functioning, keep my mind working. So, I decided, alright, why not have a competition? :D

So, congratulations to all of you who are reading this because YOU ARE THE FIRST PARTICIPANTS IN "GEMMA'S FIRST WRITING WAR!" So, here is how this is going to work: I am going to post various different riddles (that I have merely heard of and take no credit for) and you are going to answer them....IF YOU CAN >:) "Alright, well what's in it for me????" You may ask. Answer: The fact that you are so smart, you can figure out the riddle without any help. The prize is "satisfaction".

Note: 1. The Answers Will Be Presented in the Next Post
           2. This is a kind of preview to other things I will be doing on my blog. Once it's been up and running for a bit longer, I will start getting all of you readers involved in my writing. (Aka, I will post options for various aspects of my writing and you will get to choose through a vote :D)

So are you game? Lets get started!!!

Level: Easy

1. Riddle me this: A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? (Hint: Read over at least twice and think about it in pieces.)

2. Riddle me this: There was a murder in the park, in broad daylight, with people passing by, and yet no dead body was found and no one called the police. How can this be? (Hint: This is not a normal kind of "murder".)

3. Riddle me this: What word can be written forward, backward, and upside down, and can still be read from left to right? (Hint: There are a few different answers.)

Level: Medium

1. Riddle me this: I am, in truth, a yellow fork, from tables in the sky, by inadvertent fingers dropped the awful cutlery. Of mansions never quite disclosed, and never quite concealed, the apparatus of the dark, to ignorance revealed.

2. Riddle me this: I'm sometimes white, and always wrong. I can break a heart and hurt the strong. I can build love and tear it down. I can make a smile, but more of a frown. What am I?

3. Riddle me this: In marble walls as white as milk, lined with skin as soft as silk, within a fountain crystal clear, a golden apple does appear. No doors are there to this stronghold-yet thieves break in and steal the gold. What is it?

Level: Hard (Note, these are very challenging, so hints are given to start you off!)

1. Riddle me this: I heard of an invading, vanquishing army sweeping across the land, liquid-quick; conquering everything, quelling resistance. With it came darkness, dimming the light. Humans hid in their houses, while outside spears pierced, shattering stone walls. Uncountable soldiers smashed into the ground, but each elicited life as he died; when the army had vanished, advancing northward, the land was green and growing, refreshed. (Hint: The army?)

2. Riddle me this: If you like pretty gems that sparkle and shine, I invite you to dig in my virtual mine. My first is purple, fit for a king. My second is green where Dorothy did her thing. My third is red, July's birthstone as well. My fourth is seen in strings and is found inside a shell. My fifth is hard, pure Carbon and expensive to buy. My sixth is Crocodolite, striped like the big cat's eye. Seventh is two words, a man-made fake of April's stone. Eighth is very dark and found at Lightning Ridge alone. Now take from each gem, one letter in its turn, And you will find the stuff for which even the god's yearn. (Hint: Brush up on your knowledge of gem-stones, and a dictionary could be helpful.)

3. Riddle me this: You come to a fork in the road where there stands a knight and a knave. Knights always tell the truth and Knaves always lie. These two are so alike you can not tell which one is knight and which one is knave. You need to choose a road at the fork but one of the roads leads to certain death. You are allowed to ask only one question to only one person standing at the fork. What question can you ask to find the right road, not mattering whether the person is a knight or a knave? (Hint: Remember, only ONE question to help you on your way.)

Bonus: What belongs to you, and yet others use it more than you do?

And so the competition begins! Leave your comments and check in soon to see the answers!
Good Luck! :D

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Main Characters

Did you ever notice how all books have three main characters? Harry Potter: Harry, Hermione and Ron. Twilight: Bella, Edward, and Jacob. Mortal Instruments: Jace, Clary, and Simon. Infernal Devices: Will, Tessa, and Jem. Etc, etc, etc. Well, did you ever ask yourself, why? Why three?

True, it does give cause for love triangles and fights and rivalries. But, could there be another reason? I think it's strange how nearly all authors (NEARLY-not every single one) have three main characters. In my personal opinion, I think it is semi-consciously done. I mean, isn't that how warriors go out to battle? With their right and left hand man/woman? Could it be that maybe, symbolically, and without our own realization, our "heroes" are perfectly portrayed in even a deeper level?

Perhaps I just think about things too much. But, I find it very interesting. And that leads me to a second point. Is it possible that we are not as unique as we all thought we were? I mean, we do all share similar thoughts, don't we? "What's for dinner, hate homework, gosh that's pretty, will he/she ever ask me to the dance?" So, I question the ideas for books. How is it that authors' books can be so different, when they all have the same outline, the same basics?

More importantly (for me, anyway-seeing as this is my journey to getting published) what makes my book stand out?

Now, that's something to think about. =]

Monday, September 13, 2010

Too Many Books!

Well, in being a "Book-Worm", I am cursed with the incurable: "There's a book I want to read.....YOU HEAR ME? I HAVE TO READ IT NOW!!!!!" disease. There are so many books that I feel I just have to read, and only get around to actually reading them months later. So, I have just (when I say "I" I mean my mom) purchased: The White Cat (Holly Black), Clockwork Angel (Cassandra Clare), Finnikin of the Rock (Melina Marchetta), and I am in the middle of numerous others. So I then ask myself, "Gemma, what is the point of you going on Amazon and looking at books? You know that you'll find at least twenty, and then narrow it down to five. Seriously woman!!!!" And the me inside my head is right, so I listen carefully for about a minute and then devote all attention to the books on Amazon. (Sigh) What a life.

However! The books I do have, are very good (when I have time to read them). Of course normally I would finish some of them as quickly as I picked them up, but now I'm in high school. So, I have no time to write, read, or anything else except do homework and breathe (and yes, blog) so now all my fabulous books are gathering dust! I've left one character with a broken heart, another that's about to be eaten, a boy in a strange kingdom, and a girl all alone in an institute with her crazy brother. What kind of person am I???? :(

"But," says the inner me, "this is a lesson for you, Gemma. You need to learn to balance your life with what you want to get done and what needs to get done. Mantra: Balance." Alright, I suppose I am exaggerating a bit. I can make time to read and write and have fun. But, I still stand behind my words.....

There are too many books!!!!!

(Even if I am adding to the pile........)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Age Is Just a Number

Age is just a number, and I fully believe it to be true. Age is just a number...but apparently not to certain people. Ohh, yes, I thought I'd have a blast at scouting the Internet and looking at possible agents and publishers and whatnot. And then I came across an article that really made me angry. The truth is, some (NOT ALL, JUST SOME!) adults just don't think that teenagers should be publishing. They say that we haven't fully grown into our skill yet, and that we will only get better, and that we should wait because we have the rest of our lives before us, blah, blah, blah...

But you know what? It's true. For example, I am a good writer, but in a few years I will be a great writer. Why should I still not publish my book? Ok, so, pretend that I really want to be an animal trainer, but I know that I'm too young and however good I am, I'll improve. So, I avoid all animals, and then when I am old enough......I FIND OUT THAT I'M TOTALLY UNPREPARED!!!!!!!! I want to experience this, all of this: The writing and re-writing and editing and finishing and sending in query letters and manuscripts and even being rejected...Yes, especially being published.

So, yes, I do agree that there is always room to improve, and that I haven't yet reached my full potential, but so what? Why can't I publish my book, even if it's not my best work? It's still (in my opinion) pretty darn good. And I think that one of the reasons that these people don't like getting work from teenagers is that agents and publishers want the very best of the very best and have you write a really long best selling series and make movies and merchandise and have this "one hit wonder". While that sounds fantastic, I don't plan on just writing this one story. I have close to ten others that I could (potentially) turn into other novels.

So, I challenge you great agents and publishers, who think that teenagers shouldn't be concerned with getting published because we are not YET good enough: What if (and only if) I am a great writer? What if my story could make millions? What if I'm the next JK Rowling (unlikely, but I'm on a roll...) And you just missed out on the biggest shot in a lifetime, just because of my age??? I mean, is that honestly what we are basing talent on? A number? There are some people who are very young and twice as experienced as some adults! Age is just a number, and I think that if you walk around with a closed mind and an idea in your head that you just aren't willing to shake loose, then I think that you're going to miss out on a lot of fantastic opportunities.

Maybe you are right. Maybe I am too young. But you know what? Right now, I am unconcerned with what other people think (unless it is constructive criticism or a motivational speech). Why? Because I have worked too long and too hard just to put my passion and (frankly) life's work aside, and give up, because someone said that teenagers are waisting their time.

 I'm fourteen, and yet I have the time to care and write one book for four years. Time to re-write approx. 26 copies, and to spend my free time ordering books and reading best-sellers and researching and starting this blog and getting smaller things published. So if you think I'm just going to surrender, think again. I have my
3 D-Words: I am Determined, Diligent and Devoted.

And, yes, I am fourteen...

But age is just a number.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Several Solutions For Writer's Block

As those of you who have read my early comments may know: I have had a previous issue with Writer's Block. Well, since then, you'd be surprised at how many people (outside of blogging included) have asked me about specific ways to banish the curse of Writer's Block. So, I thought I would make up a quick list of different things you might want to consider:

  • Get ideas (by reading really good books that will help you find your own voice in writing.)
  • Perhaps introduce a new character (who's deep and mysterious and will cause a stir)
  • Have something dramatic/tragic/exciting/horrifying happen
  • Talk to other people who take an interest in your writing (see if they have any ideas)
  • Write what makes you happy (if you are not interested in what you're writing then it will seem more like work than anything enjoyable!)
  • And (when all else fails) you need to know when it's time to give up and move on :( (Sad but true)
I hope that this helps you writers (if there are any) who are facing the unkind world of Writer's Block. Busy with school, but will try to post things soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 6, 2010

High School

Wow, I can't believe that the summer's gone, and I'm starting high school tomorrow! :-S Not only does that mean early bedtimes, waking up before the crack of dawn, and vast mountains of homework (yes, I am exaggerating) but it also means hardly any time for writing! :'-( (Sniff sniff) And right after I got rid of my writer's block, too!

But, I have decided to embrace this change! To look forward to this new reality-much like a character would when they've been introduced to a world very different from their own. Fear not: I will survive! And I will promise myself to keep up writing as well... (Hopefully-YES!)

So, wish me luck!

Could it be that this might actually give me time to bring new perspectives that will help my writing? Perhaps reality is useful after all...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Beginning of the Middle

It's hard to start something you've already started. Book two = typical pondering on how to start it. Preface or Prologue? Recap or epic battle? How do you fill readers in if by chance they thought they'd be cute and decided not to read book one? How do you jog the readers memory if they HAVE read book one? (Roll-eyes and sigh). Book two, isn't going to be easy.

But I'm determined! I know I'll find a way: It will start with a dream, or a sword fight, or imprisonment, I'm sure. And then I'll go back, erase it, and start it off with something else. How stupid to think that writing the second book would be a piece of cake. It's more like an extremely sour lemon. And what do you do when life throws you lemons? Squirt the juice in the eye of your enemy, or throw the lemons out the window and go buy cake. Sadly, the cake is sold out so I'm going to have to revert to violence... Epic battle scene it is!

But, seriously, it is very challenging. After everything that's happened in book one, how do I fill the reader in and yet keep the story thrilling and enthralling? Compelling and suspenseful? (Larger sigh). But, I suppose that's what makes great writers, great. They know how to write a book well and sort things out. They know how to begin in the middle and still keep the reader interested in the plot. Maybe I'm not a great writer yet, maybe I don't know how to start a novel off the top of my head, and finish it in two months (as many great writers do).

HOWEVER!!!! I will not be afraid of a blank page! I'm determined to try my very best and learn. I'm determined to fail miserably, get up, and try even harder. No body's perfect. And neither are beginnings. So here I go, bracing myself for failure, knowing that I'll get it sooner or later..... I hope :S

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why Read?

There are all kinds of different readers: Some who read to educate themselves further, some who get bored and need something to occupy themselves, and some-like me-who lose themselves in books, to escape their own reality, and maybe sometimes, even escape themselves. And their's nothing wrong with wanting a repreive, is there? And it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your own life-my own life-eitehr. Sometimes though, you get sick of your own reality, like watching a movie over and over again...and you hear about all these other movies, all these other stories, and for a moment you know you can be part of someone elses life...even if it's only real inside your head, or held captive on the pages of a book.

And readers who wish to escape, don't just choose any books either. (Well, I don't at least). I find myself unable to read anything remotely normal-no girly gossip story, or story about an ordinary girl/boy with a tragic life-because no matter how different the story may be from my own life (and I really am quite fortunate to live the life I do), it could still be someone elses reality. And why would you want to escape from your reality, only to enter a different one? So, the books I choose are specific: Magic (fantasy), romance, adventure, deep characters, and a happy ending. There are so many books I've only half read, abandoning them when I find out they end in tragity...others I only read through dedication.

And you may ask me, "Why? Not everything can end with fireworks and celebration and the princess being whisked away by her dashing prince (or a certain number of vice versas)..." And that's true, not every story can have a hppily-ever-after, which is actually why I only read things with happy endings. Imagine, if perhaps your story-by strange chance and coincidence-was one of those storied with a tragic ending? Isn't it better to believe that no matter the circumstance, their is proof, somewhere that things can end in "happily-ever-after"? Other wise...well, I suppose there really would be no point in hoping, would there?

And now, after my "earnest confessions" have been revieled to you very unfamiliar strangers (if there is anyone out there at all), you may question my feelings, my theories, perhaps even my sanity (though that seems a tad far fetched)...but think about this: It is said that we write our own stories, and that we make our life the way we want it to be. Maybe if we (me) hope for that happy ending, we can make it come true. (Even if we risk setting ourselves up for dissapointment).

So mull over my words, think about my thoughts, and ask yourself, "What kind of reader am I?" Because that way, I assure you, you'll learn a great deal about yourself. And if you're anything like me (perhaps some hopeless dreamer, living in some dusty drawer in our minds, where all our hopes are kept) maybe then you can make your dreams possible, through one way or another. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging is Not Easy

I know it's been a few days since I've last posted anything, but I have had a lot on my mind with this blog. I'm frustrated, very frustrated. "Why?" you might ask. And I would reply, "Because Blogspot said that it would take less than 5 minutes to set up your blog, which is completely untrue!" Alright, I'll give that it DID take me less than five minutes to set up the template and my profile and whatnot, but there is A LOT more! You see, my blog is called Gemma's Word Gems. It shows up like that fine on my profile. BUT, on my follower's profile, where it says "Blogs I follow", it shows up as: Gemma#39;s Word Gems. HOW ANNOYING!!!!!!

And then of course I wonder why, and if it will show up this way on Google, and why is it different from mine, etc, etc. So, after a few days of research, here is what my mom and I discovered: The problem-apparently-has to do with my "Encoding". We found this "very helpful" guide on how you just go to "Settings" click on the "Formatting" tab, and then make sure the encoding is set to UTF-8. So what's the problem????


So now, my blog shows up on other people's profiles as Gemma#39;s Word Gems. (Sigh)

And while this is going on, I can't even concentrate on my writing! Grrrrrr...

Well, this has been my little outburst, and I am now drained of all energy. I'll post again soon, and keep you-whoever you are (if there's anyone)-updated. Wish me luck!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Choosing Names

Well, yesterday while going through the process (horrendous process) of editing, my "editor" and I decided that I should change the name of a certain character, and certain country. You may or may not find this funny, but I do! It is nearly impossible to come up with original names, and I must confess I had to scour the Internet to find the most relevant names I could! You may ask why, and in truth I don’t know why, but I just can’t settle for names like Mary and Beth, which are lovely names. But I hate when other people/characters have the same name as mine! For example, I found this picture, which I thought looked exactly like my leading male, on the Internet. I saw that it was a weird contest (which I think is a scam) where you have to create a story about this other guy’s characters. There were three princes, and the one that I thought LOOKED like my character had the same NAME as my character! I was so upset.

Generally speaking, I tried to find names with meanings that would relate to the characters. And the character's name that I was replacing, just had to have something to do with either light, or a fox, or a raven. Light, because he's just a "glowy" kind of guy (!) A fox, because he is very sly. And a raven, because that has to do with a secret organization he is in. So, I went online and came up with a list that had about 20 names on it. I brought it to my "editor" and she suggested that none of these names really suited my character... Well, was I ever upset! I had spent quite a good chunk of time coming up with this list of names and none of  them were satisfying? (Well, I wasn't really satisfied either...) So, what did we have to do? We had to spend another half an hour looking for names, for one character! And I won't tell you what time it was!!!! (Sigh)

And then, there was of course the issue of the country's name. Like I said, my book is fantasy, so in a fantasy world you expect the names of places to have original spelling and pronunciation. So I took a whole bunch of different things and paired them with different endings, and came up with 11 names... NO GOOD! However, do not worry. After what seemed like relentless effort on both my part and my "editor's" we came up with a name for my character and my land. Stay tuned!

"So, how do you come up with such original names?" you might be wondering. Well, let me just say that it isn't easy, and no matter how efficient you want to be, it does take patience and a lot of research. I must also confess that I ended up changing the names a lot. My main guy used to be named Garrett, until I found out that Garrett sounded a lot like Carrot, so I decided that my awesome warrior couldn’t be named Garrett the Carrot.

TIP: You can go on baby name sites online to find unique names (I find that very helpful). A link that I often resort to is (On this site, you can also search by meaning) Whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS OVER IT!!!!! There is always a perfect name out there, and if you get sick of looking for it, then make one up! That way, you know that that name will always be special, and yours.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writer's Block is a Curse

Writer's Block is just about the worst thing (apart from horrendous editing) that any writer will go through. Basically, you draw a blank and can't write anything for days, weeks even! So, you can imagine my frustration when I sat down today to finish a chapter (quite an exciting one too, where a character is in an intense fight for freedom) and nothing came to mind for what I should do next. "Well, then just skip that part already!" you might say, but that's unfortunately not how I write. I don't start at Chapter Ten and end up at Chapter Two. I find my brain functions better if I write in a sequence, one thing after another in ORDER! So, I wrote a few sentences, then erased them, then wrote a few more, then erased those. (Not very productive). I'm always told "you should write what you enjoy, because that way you will stay inspired", and this is true, BUT it does not penetrate Writer's Block!!!!!!!

Then, of course, I went into "Melodramatic" mode. I sat slumped in my chair and hunched over my computer, thinking things like "I'll never get this book published!" and "I am such a terrible writer" and "Why oh why did I ever even start this stupid book?". And-yes this is silly, but-then I started wondering what was for lunch...which every distressed writer is obligated to wonder. (Comfort Food). Then, I got a grip, and asked myself why I was completely terrorizing myself, and making my confidence shrink even more, when I should be encouraging myself. So I said things like, "It's only a minor setback" and "It will pass, just as it always does" and "You've been working too hard, go relax and eat your salad". So, frustrated with my characters and myself, I gave it rest, hoping I would get an idea for something brilliant (which, by the way, has not yet come to me).

I decided to clear my mind with some brainless TV, when my mother told me about a way to sort of "advertise" my blog, by setting my URL as my signature. Somehow (and I really don't know what I was thinking) I came up with the silly and inept conclusion that this would give me something relaxing to do... WELL IT DID NOT! I must have spent at least an hour trying to figure out how to do that, being a first time blogger. (Sigh) I'm happy I finally figured it out.

But still, the work is hardly over. Now, I'm back to my story, staring blankly at the page, with a kind of look that says, "How did that get here?". All very overwhelming. Well, for now my characters will just have to be suspended in fantasy time, swords held high, waiting for an attack that may not come for days (poor fellows). Thus, is the curse of Writer's Block... :( *Slinking away into dismal sorrow*...

So, you might ask, how DO you get out of Writer's Block??? Sometimes you don't for awhile. I feel that it's just like starting a book. To start you have to have an idea. Everyone has ideas, which you then build on. It has to be something that grabs you and motivates you to write (like a kind of personal cheerleader) :-). I just haven't had that idea yet. However, when I do, those characters better watch out, because those swords are about to swing. ;D

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Steps

Well, you might be wondering how this blog came into perspective. It started with my Uncle Scot. :) Thanks to him, he set up a meeting with a published author and journalist, Deborah T. I was so excited to take the subway down to the Thomson building, and when I finally got there, the nerves set in. I had that weird feeling that you get on a rollercoaster, as if my stomach had suddenly turned to water. My mom and I went upstairs and were seated at a large conference table. I must say, it was intimidating. I couldn't help but think "Wow, this is what it would be like to sit down with a publisher".

Then, my nerves turned into panic when Deborah (who is one of the kindest and most helpful people I have ever met) sat down and said the dreaded words: "So, Gemma, tell a bit about your book. What's it about?" Oh, how I should have practiced, should have thought long and hard about what exactly I was going to say. Sadly, I was not prepared. I started, yes, to ramble! :S The whole thing went by in a blur of humiliation. How can an author not express what their own book is about?! I think I said something like: "'s a romance/fantasy/adventure about..." Something like that. (How embarrassing!) And it's not the first time. You'll have seen, if you checked my profile, that a favourite series of mine is "The Mortal Instrument" series, by Cassandra Clare. Well, I had the great fortune of meeting her when she came on tour to Toronto, and the same thing happened! Imagine, the opportunity to speak with Cassandra Clare, and my first word was: Um...

But, live and learn. And this is something that I know is a key point to consider for all aspiring writers: Learn to talk about your book in under 30 seconds. Choose three strong points to highlight your book/story, just to give the reader a taste. (Thank you, Deborah. :-D) This is something that I am still working on, because there is so much to talk about! Still, I wouldn't want to give the whole story away!

Back to the meeting with Deborah: Well, another great piece of advice she gave me, is to have connections and other publications. For example: I have corresponded several times with Cassandra Clare, and also an author called Mahtab Narsimhan, who is the author of The Third Eye and The Silver Anklet. I have also had a poem and a short story published. However, Deborah suggested that I send poems and short stories, or even pieces of artwork to magazines for consideration. I think that this will be part of my next project :)

And the biggest tip of all-can you guess?-yup, to start this blog! So here I am, with my own blog, and one step closer to getting my writing out there to the public and hopefully, one day, published!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Welcome to My Word Gems!

Hello! My name is Gemma. Welcome to my Word Gems. The reason I designed this blog was because I'm working on my first novel. I think that it's something worth publishing, and I'm going to give it my all, easy or not. I'm 14, and I know I'm young to be undertaking this adventure, but age is just a number. Who said you have to be an adult to write a good book, a great book? This is my space to explore and document my journey to get published. (Deep breath!)

I think(?!) I have finished writing the first draft of Book One in my planned trilogy! But the work is hardly done... Now, I have to go back, edit, rewrite, and at some point face the daunting task of contacting publishers. I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I had never planned for any of the bumps I would hit along the way, but through it all, I am determined to have my book on the shelves! I'm doing my research, and am going back to make sure that my book is the very best it can be. Hopefully, through determination, hard work, and with a little luck, I'll have what it takes to get my story published. :)